Trend setters are calling it the 2020 Christmas Star. It is a celestial event set for December 21, the long night of the winter solstice. But it is not even a star. It is the night that the planets Saturn and Jupiter kiss. Even though they are hundreds of millions of miles away from each other, from our perspective, they have been getting closer and closer all fall. They are said to kiss when they are at their closest before their orbits begin to separate them again. Their last kiss like this one was in 1226, nearly 800 years ago. In 1226, Genghis Khan was busy conquering parts of western Asia. Any evening now, if you look outside and it is not too cloudy, you will see the two largest planets in our solar system so close they appear as one bright star. Look above the southwestern horizon just after sunset, a little below and to the right of the soon-emerging moon. They will only be visible for about an hour or so before they drop below the horizon here in Oklahoma.
The Original Christmas Star has never been seen again. There has been much speculation from astronomers concerning the kind of heavenly light that could lead the wise men from Persia to Jerusalem to Bethlehem to meet Jesus. There was enough Hebrew scripture remaining in the old Babylonian empire from the time of Daniel until Esther and Nehemiah, for these scholars to discern that biblical prophecy might be unfolding in their own day. They were so curious and expectant, they packed up their supplies and rich gifts to set out on the journey. They completed their mission and returned to their land to tell of their incredible experiences.
In typical 2020 fashion, the so-called “Christmas Star” is a couple of kissing planets that most people will never even see. The biblical story is unfolding around us. The Good News of Christ is being fulfilled every day. Can we see the hand of God at work today? Do we have the courage, and yes, even faith like those wise men of old, to share the wonders of the true Christmas story?
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Look to the stars. And let’s experience the love and power of God together while we are apart.